Noughties pop-punk icons For Amusement Only are reuniting for some special shows

Noughties pop-punk icons For Amusement Only are reuniting for some special shows

Words by Lexi Herbert

We chat to the band about the big comeback.

Not to make anyone feel old (time is a flat circle and we’re all circling the drain), but if you were a fan of Melbourne-based pop-punk foursome For Amusement Only, it may shock you to find out they broke up 16 years ago.

Yes, back in 2004. Just to contextualise that, 2004 was the year that Facebook was launched, Lance Armstrong was still (illegally) winning cycling titles, and the year Harry Potter’s third film instalment, Prisoner of Azkaban, was released.

A hiatus this long could be a source of anxiety or fear for any band set to hit the stage again. Thankfully, Melbourne’s own For Amusement Only have nothing but excitement and goodwill coursing through their veins, says bassist Ben Hall.

“It’s so great! We haven’t played together in…” Hall pauses, then laughs, “in about 16 or 18 years, depending on the group. The shows are a great opportunity for us as well as the people coming to watch because we haven’t seen each other in ages, everyone’s a bit scattered around the place now.

“We’re not really active any more so we’ll be playing the old songs, the classics. It’ll be good fun to be up there again with the boys.”

Though they’ve each gone on to explore other regions of life – Hall recalls Peter Novosel leaving the band in 2002 to pursue a now-successful career in film directing in LA – they never completely lost sight of their music.

“I’m a film editor now, Novo went over to LA to make films, Marky [Wright]… you know, I’m actually not sure what he does. He wears a suit, so business of some sort. Sold his soul, you know. And Timmy [Brown] is out in the country building his own house out of a shipping container.

“The fact that everyone is keen to get back into the band for this tour is great, I couldn’t be happier. Some of us have young families and our partners haven’t seen us play, so it’s a cool trip back to youth that we get to take.”

With My Chemical Romance’s revival, 2020 seems to be the year for early-2000s pop-punk enthusiasts, and three beloved Aussie acts from the era are now resurrecting themselves and their tunes. For Amusement Only, Antiskeptic and Seraphs Coal are touring three shows down the east coast during March and will be hitting up Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne along the way. The last of the shows will be held at the Corner Hotel with Hightime and Japan For also making appearances. In short, the show is going to be an absolute behemoth.

“None of us ever really stopped playing, even though we pursued other things, so to pick up the instruments again is refreshing. The thing is, though, we only meet up on the Monday before the tour starts. We have a week to rehearse,” laughs Hall. “It’s not that bad, like they’re not hard songs and we’ve been chatting on Skype. But yeah, we’re just going at it to have fun.”

If you’ve been watching the indie-pop charts as of recent, a certain ’90s aesthetic and sound is re-emerging amongst artists such as Beabadoobee, Snail Mail and SASAMI. Could such a revival bode positively for a noughties pop-punk resurgence? Despite his love for the genre, Hall is wary.

“I’m not sure about the charts at the moment, but I don’t really think this tour indicates a comeback for the genre. If anything, it’s a sort of a wave goodbye. That being said, culture is a cycle so you can never know. We may be surprised.”

For Amusement Only will be joined by Antiskeptic, Seraphs Coal, Hightime and Japan For at the Corner Hotel on Sunday March 8 for a night dripping with ’90s nostalgia. Grab your tix via the venue website